A Lack of Grief?

Tiffeny Chen

It is disquieting how not a single acknowledgement was made amongst the trivial details of the lunch and club activities about the tragedy which occurred the day before. On October 31 st , 2017, a 29-year- old man in a rented pickup truck drove down a busy bicycle path near the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, New York City. The suspect was determined to be Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbek immigrant who was spurred by Islamic State (ISIS) propaganda videos. Saipov has been charged with providing material support to ISIS, violence and destruction of motor vehicles.
The vehicle killed eight people and injured eleven others.

Our own school illustrated the spirit of resilience of New Yorkers and went on with life mourning the lives that were lost. The aftermath of the attack should not have quickly digressed into a political debate over immigration and security. Yet, mere hours afterward President Trump chose to politicize the tragedy. President Trump tweeted “In NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person”, “Law enforcement is following this closely. NOT IN THE U.S.A.!”, and “We must not allow ISIS to return, or enter, our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere. Enough!” After these initial tweets, the White House released a more formal statement “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of today’s terrorist attack in New York City and their families.”

Criticism of Trump’s tweets soon followed: Earlier, Governor Cuomo said, “The President’s tweets were not helpful. I don’t think they were factual. I think they tend to point fingers and politicize the situation.” “You play into the hands of the terrorist to the extent that you disrupt, divide and frighten people in the society.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “The last thing we should do is start causing aspersions on whole races of people or whole religions or whole nations. That only makes the situation worse.”

UK Prime Minister Theresa May scolded Trump for his premature tweet. “I don’t think it’s helpful for anyone to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation.”

Perfectly summarized by the Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer,
“President Trump where is your leadership?” President Trump chose to minimize the tragedy and focus on dividing America by discussing vetting of immigrants rather than focusing on a solution which unites the country: anti-terrorism funding. The White House’s proposed budget cuts anti-terrorism grant funding. In this era of constant attacks and violence, I entreat you to take a different approach than President Trump. Do not become desensitized to the violence. Recognize that each attack you are witnessing will become that abstract statistic and fight fiercely to prevent that from happening. But also, don’t generalize an entire group of people based on the few incidents that are publicized. There are 7.6 billion people on the Earth and the only fact you know about all of them is that they are humans just like you.